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A Toxics-Free Future


Lead in Playground Equipment in Malaysia

In August 2019, 10 playgrounds in Penang and Kedah states in Malaysia were visited. In each playground, painted play equipment (e.g., climbing bars and frames, posts, railings, ramps, rockers, see-saws, slides, swings, etc.) were examined and physical details, e.g., colour of painted surface, substrate type (metallic, wooden, plastic, fiberglass, etc.), and the condition of painted surface (new, old, visible chipping off or flaking) were observed and documented.

Samples of chipping paint were taken from 17 pieces of playground equipment and analysed using a handheld XRF OLYMPUS Delta Series, Delta Standard – standard performance SDD (Silicon Drift Detector), Model: DS-6500-C (DELTA Standard - Ta/Au tube).

This study shows that:

  • Paint chips from 13 out of 17 pieces of playground equipment contained total lead concentrations above 90 parts per million (ppm), dry weight. In addition, 11 analysed playground equipment contained dangerously high lead levels above 10,000 ppm.
  • Paint chips from seven pieces of yellow-painted equipment, three pieces of red-painted equipment, and one piece of orange-painted equipment contained dangerously high lead levels above 10,000 ppm.
  • The highest lead concentration detected was 620,000 ppm in a yellow multi-layered playground equipment at a public playground in Georgetown, Penang, Malaysia.
Read the full report below.
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